For the last four years I’ve uncommittedly practiced yoga at Laughing Lotus in the city located on 18th street between 5th and 6th Ave. I worked in Chelsea for a while and it was not only convenient but the best spot in the city considering vibe, instruction, and humility.
I was particularly smitten with one instructor by the name of Sheri, born and raised in Brooklyn, a spunky groovy diva who must’ve been a bad ass chick before transforming into a blossoming lotus yoga maestro. Classes were always packed and she incorporated breath and movement at a fierce and challenging pace, and she never missed a mark in pointing out difficult poses for us newbie pseudo intermediates. I loved the deeply rooted chill of the class and Sheri’s ability to briefly speak about challenging moments we might face each day, illuminating and lightening up and out the burden that I walked in with at the beginning of each class.
Yoga has had life changing effects on me, especially at a time when I was struggling with all sorts of fears and tribulations. It’s a practice I incorporate into my life even for a brief moment before the day starts and it surely helps align the strength and peace needed to face the grittiness of my so called life.
Recently I’ve been itchin’ for change, not that Laughing Lotus was lacking in fulfilling my need for serenity, I just couldn’t fathom commuting into the city when I spend so little time there. I started sampling studios in Williamsburg about a year ago and wasn’t happy with any of them: they were either dinky, snotty, or inadequate in fueling illuminating instruction. Last week I was given the opportunity to check out not one but two spaces in Greenpoint where yoga rules the day.
Cat Cow Yoga and Healing Studio is run out of a cozy yet spacious loft on Freeman Street between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave humming with warmth and comfort. I joined the noon class taught by resident Ashleigh who also happens to teach at Laughing Lotus and met with Nadine who has lived and taught in the loft for a number of years. There were only four of us in the room, a stark contrast from the packed space of Laughing Lotus who houses anywhere between 20 and 30 people. The intimate setting provided for a more personal experience, I could vividly hear my breath and Ashleigh was attentive to each move, offering guidance with a gentle touch when needed. It was a basic class that focused deeply and consistently on fundamental poses that were as easy to follow as it was refreshingly releasing.
Drinks and snacks were had before and after the class followed by light conversations and all around friendly laughter. I wasn’t able to stick around for the crystal healing workshop but I hear it was rad. Cat Cow has regular classes and you can find the schedule here.
The next day I ventured into Kusala where Emily and a bunch of others urged me to check out. I followed the instructor Julianna in this intermediate class that kicked my ass with intricate binding poses. It left me sore for two days onward but I didn’t regret the attempts made at body pretzeling into oblivion.
The space is on the ground floor on the corner of India Street and Franklin Ave, a spacious open room with little décor housing about 8 or 10 attendants when I was there. Julianna was purely instructive and was attentive to my foolish struggling. Breath was of utmost focus spending long moments in each pose that I found invigorating, inducing a rested mindfulness that was extremely gratifying. I walked out simultaneously pooped and energetic and will certainly be returning for more. Their website has a schedule and all the info you may need.
So go ahead and escape from your daily moments of crisis and om shanti your way to two great studios in Greenpoint.